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Leaders of S. Korea, Chile agree to improve ties through FTA revision

Yonhap News, Korea

Leaders of S. Korea, Chile agree to improve ties through FTA revision

By Byun Duk-kun

11 November 2009

SEOUL, Nov. 11 (Yonhap) — South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and visiting Chilean President Michelle Bachelet agreed Wednesday to revise a free trade agreement (FTA) between their countries to reflect changed conditions since the deal was signed five years ago.

The leaders noted the move will help further improve economic relations between the countries, whose bilateral trade jumped four fold from US$1.85 billion in 2003 to nearly $7.2 billion last year, according to Seoul’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

"Noting there have been changes in conditions during the past five years since the Korea-Chile FTA was enacted, the two leaders agreed to work together to further improve and develop the FTA," Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.

"Our two countries have maintained a comprehensive cooperative relationship. We can say South Korea’s relationship with Chile has grown deeper than with any other South American nation," President Lee told his Chilean counterpart.

Bachelet expressed satisfaction with the high level of cooperation between the two nations, saying South Korea is an "important role model" for the development of Chile.

The South Korean president also asked Bachelet to support South Korean businesses in Chile, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

Lee and Bachelet agreed to improve cooperation in the cultural sector as South Korea agreed to take part in Chile’s celebration of its 200th anniversary of independence, while Chile agreed to participate in the 2012 World Expo to be held in South Korea’s Yeosu, according to the press release.

The leaders also sought to improve their countries’ cooperation in dealing with international issues, such as the global financial crisis, climate change and North Korea’s nuclear program.

"President Lee explained our government’s efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue through six-party negotiations and about his proposal for a grand bargain in denuclearizing the North while President Bachelet expressed her active support for such efforts," Cheong Wa Dae said.

The Chilean president arrived here Tuesday en route to Singapore where she and her South Korean counterpart will attend the annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.